Boss Up with Bevin Your dream life is at the end of your comfort zone

2016-11-29

Bevin’s 2016 Holiday Gift Guide Centering Queer, POC and Women Owned Businesses

I have been doing a gift guide* for almost as many years as I’ve been blogging here (since 2008) and I always center work by queer, POC and women owned businesses. Now, more than ever, we need to be mindful about where we are putting our dollars! If you can buy your holiday gifts or handle your self pampering needs by supporting artists and businesses that are facing a loss of protection after Drumpf’s election, you are able to do a really concrete thing to help folks out. Money is energy in 3D form–it is important to put a damn in Capitalism, reroute it away from corporations and into the hands of folks whose lives will improve because of it!

If you can’t buy but can support folks by amplifying them on social media, that’s a gift, too, for a hustling entrepreneur!

I’m also highlighting folks who live in red states, supporting queers, POC and women in those spaces is especially vital now that racist, homophobic and misogynist nationalists are emboldened. We are in this together and redirecting our spending is an important way to connect and support social justice.

Make Good Choices
OMG OBSESSED. How about for the Femme Jewess in your life, this LIPSTICK MENORAH? Everyone should buy his and his or hers and hers or they and hers or whatever cups for your next queer wedding! I really want the Never Been Gayer mug to reaffirm my commitment in a Drumpf Presidency to get GAYER AND LOUDER AND WITCHIER. I want to buy everyone I know this Hannukah present, Oy to the World mug. NEVER BEEN MORE APPROPRIATE.oytotheworld

The prancing unicorn mug is a perfect idea for a weirdo in your life.youmakemefeellikeprancing

Make Good Choices on Instagram.

Tie By Hand
One of my oldest friends, Christie, just started a woodworking business called Tie By Hand! She makes a lot of really cute and useful accessories and toys. Dad gifts galore! I have always loved watching Christie create, she puts such love and intention to what she builds. 10% of proceeds go to Equitas Health the LGBT health center in Columbus, OH where she lives. Support a queer family living in a red state!

I think her bottle openers are perfect for the rustic masculine person in your life, elegant in their simplicity. tiebyhandbottleopener

The kids’ toys are wooden and adorable.tiebyhandunicorn

I am simply in love with this magnetic knife holder. tiebyhandwalnutknifeholder

Check out all of her unforgettable one of a kind gifts on her website and the LGBTQ mentorship program she is working to implement.

Paypal Christie@tiebyhand.com to buy any of her products!

Genuine Valentine
Genuine Valentine creates apparel for gender nonconforming folks and anyone who identifies outside of the gender binary. I’m so into the simple design and cozy styles. Run by a gender nonconforming roller derby playing drag king performing friend of mine, I’m so excited to share some of my favorite gifts.

This shirt is a great gift for someone who is interested in showing solidarity/acting as an ally for gender nonconforming folks! Comes in XS-3X.
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I have been giving gifts of clever onesies for all the amazing babies born into my life. I love the sentiment, Dolly Parton said in her Pure and Simple Tour that her mom did great by her to let her make her own path and parents could support their kids by just letting them be themselves. I think the Making My Own Path onesie is a great reminder of that great advice.
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The Future is Genderless–I love this kids’ shirt. genuinevalentinefutureisgenderless

Use code QUEERFATFEMME for 15% off orders at Genuine Valentine!
Genuine Valentine on Facebook
Genuine Valentine on Instagram

Furface Pet Portraits
If you know someone who loves their pet, buy them a digital pet portrait from Fur Face Art! Ketch is a queer artist who has two remarkably cute rescue pekingese dogs and draws really compelling art of pets! It’s been a longtime dream of mine to get portraits done of all of my pets! Order soon because Ketch usually gets full up closer to the holidays! furfaceartshihtzu
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Fur Face Pet Portraits on Facebook
Fur Face Art on Instagram

Hello Holiday

I found this shop through queer fat femme fashion icon Nicolette Mason. They are based in Omaha, Nebraska–red state! They also rep Black Lives Matter on their instagram, which immediately got my attention for folks I want to support!

I’m so into the Girls Support Girls tee shirt–it comes in pink or white and all the way to 3X and is $33. Bust up internalized misogyny! Great gift for pre-teen and teenage feminists!helloholidaygirlssupportgirls
This Intersectional pin is sooo cute. Great gift for academics and social justice types who go to a lot of conferences and wear blazers or denim vests with bling. $13!helloholidayintersectional_2048x2048

Hello Holiday on Instagram
Hello Holiday on Facebook

How to Be You by Jeffrey Marsh
If you have a pre-teen or teenager, especially a weird one, in your life, get them this book! As soon as I cracked this book I knew that every single teenager should read it and work through it. It’s part memoir, part workbook to ask yourself the right questions to get to know yourself. When you are growing up as someone who is not a “normal” it is really isolating and lonely! How to Be You is permission giving and beautiful. I think it is suicide prevention and self care to do the work to get to know yourself, especially during adolescence when it is particularly emotionally difficult to not fit in.

Jeffrey Marsh (they/them pronouns) grew up a genderqueer in a small Pennsylvania town and became a social media superstar with their affirming and positive Vine messages. You can buy it here on Amazon and I get a referral for the purchase, or buy it from an indie shop like The Strand or even better an LGBT bookstore!

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Jeffrey Marsh on Instagram.

Stuzo Clothing
Owned by queers of color, Stuzo Clothing, was nominated over five times on my solicitous Facebook and Instagram posts when I asked my followers and friends for recommendations! “A genderless clothing company designed to invoke thought and emotion” Stuzo has some cute presents! They have a store in LA and a robust online store. Also, if you are a person wearing their Koas Kontrol Coat at a party I will stop you to talk about it. STUNNING piece of art.

I LOVE the black mesh button up shirt–I think it’s so sharp and the kind of thing that is timeless if you have strong style. $75 but only goes Small to XL. (If you’re a bigger person who wants to wear it, contact them and ask them to let you know if they do a bigger run!)stuzomeshshirt

The LEZ hat is so stylish–the bandana brim is a fresh update to the tall letter snapback.

The Adipositivity Calendar
Photographer and Fat Activist Substantia Jones set out to show the world fat bodies in an effort to normalize them. Her cutting-edge work has evolved over the years, and she perseveres doing this stuff through a lot of internet BS from haters. Her play with light, her use of bodies to paint a picture is really beautiful and extraordinary. Modeling for her has been such a great experience. I’m plotzing over this photo from our shoot in June–my eyelashes and tattoo are so incredible in the shot. I feel like art!

Her calendar is an annual collection of never-before-seen shots. I’m in it this year for the second time! It’s such an honor to be Ms. July! (My shot is below–a special sneak preview! I’m a YARD SALE PIN-UP in a rainbow snakeskin lamé bikini.)adipositivity16-06-la-203-yardsale-tagged-1100

In Substantia’s words: Every freaking penny of profit goes toward defraying some of the costs of keeping the Adipositivity Project alive, so stuff ya some stockings with these things. You’ll be supporting fat activism, body positivity, and pushback against bigoted patriarchal jackwaddery. Plus it’s all pretty an’ shit.

Buying this calendar funds the body revolution! Sharing about it helps fund the revolution more! I would love to see Substantia make so much cash off this calendar she can shoot Adipositivity art full time and comfortably for all of 2017! (Share this post on Facebook!)adipositivitycal-page-07-july
Adipositivity on Facebook.

Xiomara Lorenzo Designs

Xiomara Lorenzo Designs makes 3D Printed Hoop Earrings. They come in a variety of bright colors and the process seems really cool. I love the large earrings, I feel like in a bold color they would make an amazing statement piece. If you have a Femme who loves modern design on your holiday giving list, consider these. I would get a color you know she wears a lot (red for red-lipped femmes is a solid choice). If I were buying them I’d get them in hot pink because I’m wearing a lot of black and white lately.
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Xiomara Lorenzo Designs on Facebook

Eye of Crow Herbs
My friend Lizanne is a queer femme herbalist out of Oakland who sells herbal remedy products. We bought some Tumeric Oxymel at the QueerCare LA event in June and we loved it. I am excited to try her other remedies. The 3 of <3s blend is great for anyone you know going through a difficult emotional time, including grief. And the Sleeptime blend would be great for someone you know who is losing sleep at night. Or Lickable massage oil for your lover/love interest/poly side dish / whatever. Lizanne rules. Buy her potions!
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Eye of Crow Herbs on Instagram

Stellarium Jewelry
Stellarium Jewelry is owned by a queer femme friend in Baltimore. Her pieces are beautiful, woo and striking. “Stones that are used in this work are hand selected for their energetic and aesthetic qualities.”

This crescent etching earring is a great choice for someone who loves the moon. stellariumcopperetchingearring

Black, White, and Grey Chalcedony Necklace with Sterling Silver Chain is so beautiful. The stone can help with self doubt or help lessen the effects of dementia and senility. Great gift for someone who could use a tangible reminder that you believe in them. stellariumhowlitenecklace

Last Craft
Last Craft is the work of the amazing Amanda Stilwell, a queer femme in Chicago. If you know someone who loves 80s/90s culture, shop here for them. The New Wave Tarot deck is really cool for anyone who loves New Wave and Woo (a pretty big cross section). As a fan of the movie Heathers and body positivity, I must shout out the Big Fun pin.lastcraftbig_fun_large

Last Craft on Facebook
Last Craft on Instagram

Lockwood Shop
Lockwood is my go-to NYC gift store. My friend Mackenzi owns it and her buying is always on point. When we met 7 or 8 years ago she had one tiny shop in Queens and now she has four! It has been so inspirational to see her work hard and hustle her dreams over the years and I LOVE her baby and kids’ stuff. Like this Metrocard plush rattle!!!nyc-rattles-baby-metro-card_th

Or this dinosaur hand puppet!dinosaurhandpuppetlarge_th

Lockwood Shop on Instagram
Lockwood Shop on Facebook

New York Toy Collective
This dildo and accessories company is owned by a queer woman of color and it is such a labor of love. They work to foster a sex positive world and make gender affirming and fluid products. I met them while they were tabling at a party on mine and Dara’s first one on one outing! (First date according to Dara but since I didn’t know it was a date I don’t count it.) I have the Mason in hot pink and LOVE it as well as the Shilo. Quality pieces that have lasted for the past three and four years, respectively!

I got my Mason as my payment for modeling for New York Toy Collective (it was a “lifestyle shoot” and in the video from the shoot I’m juggling dildos–possibly one of the funnest things I’ve been caught doing on video). I’m super honored to be in this shot with Erika Hart, an amazing breast cancer body acceptance activist who is making big waves right now!
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If you have a friend getting married, consider one of these (or collecting gift cards) for Bachelorette party gifts or wedding shower gifts or I’m in your bridal party gifts. Or maybe give one to your partner to sizzle things up this holiday season! They can make a sex toy out of any genital through their 3D scanning!

New York Toy Collective on Instagram
New York Toy Collective on Facebook

Massage and Body Paint with Julia Cameron Damon
My friend Cam is an amazing body painter and masseuse. She’s based in Longmont, CO, so if you ever are driving through definitely get in touch with her about booking a massage. (I did that once driving cross country, stayed at her place–which is also an airbnb–and got a massage. It was perfect. It’s gorgeous in Colorado.) cammassagetable

If you want the most incredibly unique and romantic experience to give your partner for a holiday gift, book a body paint session with Cam! She will also fly out to you and do a whole body paint/photography session. It’s amazing, such a beautiful embodying experience. In Cam’s words, “Sometimes folk fly into Longmont Friday have dinner and a massage before bed. Then get up Saturday and we paint and shoot all day. They rest and leave Sunday–I have gift certificates for this experience too. Models come away with 100s of digital downloads.” Since Cam is deaf, it’s best to text her–303 243 2240. She does baby belly painting! She travels a bunch, so seriously just get in touch and talk about it. Read all about my experience with our body paint session in Brooklyn five years ago! cambevin

She posts her travel schedule on her Massage Facebook Fan Page.

Novel Idea Crafts
I love bibliophiles and bibliophilic intimacy, thus I love this woman-owned shop with cute crafts made from old books! Much of them are Christmas-oriented, but she does custom work and that’s what I would love to suggest. If there’s a person in your life with whom you have a connection over a book–like if you were Forrest Gump Jr. you might get your dad an ornament made with rolled pages from Curious George.
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The Paira Birds

If you want to give affordable, really cute art, Tabitha Brown’s digital portraits start at only $15 and really pop. I find them so compelling and joyful. Especially the fox clutching the tea mug (obvs) and many representations of Black folks. foxtea
I feel like this Trini Transistor is a great decor item for a kids’ room.pairabirdsboombox

Bevin’s Tea
Mackenzi said that I hadn’t mentioned my tea in awhile on my blog so I’m making sure to remind readers I’m building an energy healing tea business. The tea is a vector for energy healing when maybe you don’t have the time or money to go have a full Reiki session.

My goal is always to have delicious tea blends, so everything is luxury level blends of organic ingredients. I blend with certain healing properties in mind and emotional effects. Feelings tea is great for when you’re going through it, so is Find Your Chill (especially if you need a sleepytime aid). Dolly Mint is meant to help folks get dollars, stay positive, and ease digestion. Hibiscus Coconut has nettles for anti-inflammatory help and positivity enhancement. Self Love is caffeinated and meant for self loving. I also have a Lesbian Tea Basket sampler pack so you can try all the flavors. My Earl Grey is positively the most popular for folks re-ordering after having the Lesbian Tea Basket. I’m still working on getting up on etsy, but for now you can order it from this page on my blog! I want to make energy healing as accessible as your pantry!lesbianteabasketround1

Bevin’s Tea on Facebook.
Bevin’s Tea on Instagram.

*Inclusion in my gift guide is always free and it is a true labor of love–it takes me 30-40 hours to curate, write, html code, research and resize photos for this post. Dara reminded me I always say I want to start it sooner because I annually forget how long it takes. I’m totally indebted to my friends and followers who help me source a diverse roster of folks to include!

2013-09-03

Five Ways I’ve Learned to Embrace the Velocity of Change

A few years ago a friend of mine suddenly got a girlfriend. We were besties and spent a lot of time together, so I wondered why I was feeling weird about it. I was definitely happy for her, I liked her new beau and I was excited for her to get laid. I sat with the feelings for awhile and I realized what I was feeling was fear—specifically fear of change. I knew that changes in our friendship were bound to happen. We were both single and had a lot of nights free that we spent together. Eventually that situation changes.

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For this post I’m using photos from my Lesbian Jack Kerouac Gay American Road Trip. I went on that when I needed to shake up the energy in my life.

I parceled it out and realized that the changes were really triggering my fear of abandonment. My parents divorced when I was 18 months old and my dad was mostly out of the picture while I was growing up. That’s a pretty classic recipe for adult fear of abandonment.

Once I could label that it gave me something to do on my side of the street. I could address my fear of abandonment without blaming or getting mad at my friend just for being happy. I don’t ever want to be mad at my friends for following their hearts and being happy! I want them to be happy. This fear of abandonment is something I’ve worked diligently to remove over the last several years, and it involves a lot of embracing the velocity of change.

I’ve noticed my friends going through a ton of big changes lately. Huge new jobs—dream jobs. Sudden moves. Losses of many kinds. A lot of them have gotten into romances in the last few weeks–it reminds me so clearly of that time where I thought I was going to lose my friend. I’m still having to remind myself often that I’ve weathered these kinds of friendship changes before and it is going to be okay.

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Being a hipster in Austin, TX at their monthly Femme night.

I’m positive all of these big changes aren’t just isolated to my friends. Since this is probably relevant to my readers, too, I thought I would do a round-up of some of the things I’ve learned along the way about embracing the velocity of change.*

1.Accept that change is part of living.

I like to remind myself that when things are changing and tranforming that I’m really living. The only constant in life is change. When I get a little dizzy with the “too much too soons” about change (because sometimes the good and the bad changes seem to happen in a flash without warning) I remind myself of that Pearl Jam song titled Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town. For some reason, when I was a fourteen year old devout Pearl Jam fan I heard that song and I would get so afraid that would be me—changed by not changing at all. And given how resistant I was to change at that age (and for many, many years after) it is a miracle I have gotten as far as I have.

I’m also the kind of person who initially resists even the little changes (I have feelings when my roommate moves around the appliances on our countertops), so my square one about change is generally negative. Accepting change as a constant has helped me hop away from that negative box faster than I used to.

Since change in life is a constant, accepting that as true—we cannot grip the happy times just as we cannot escape all the hard times—is actually a relief. When I’m having a shitty feeling I like to chant to myself, “Everything is temporary.” That helps.

Re-envisioning change as a good thing, a sign that my life is dynamic and magical, works for me.

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Having my cards read by a roaming psychic.

2. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

Similar to the sentiment above, sometimes seeking out change is a really good thing. I’ve made big changes in my life before—I moved across the country at age 21. That was the first big thing I ever chose to do that forever altered the direction of my life. And it wasn’t my first choice, I really wanted to go to law school at my alma mater but I didn’t get in. Rather than hang out another year in Davis and re-apply I just bit the bullet and moved to Camden, NJ.

This was absolutely the best thing I did for myself at that young age. Without friends, a sense of safety or comfort, I really had to learn who I was. And I found myself. The year after I moved I started identifying as queer, made peace with my body and learned that femme was a thing you could be and it was awesome. I don’t know how long those changes would have taken if I’d never moved. I don’t know if those changes would have ever happened! I had no idea how resilient I was until I had to be.

Me and Jessie Dress
Slow dancing with that dreamboat Jessie Dress.

3. Small changes are good practice for the big ones.

Despite my desire to see change as a good thing, I remain a contented, homebody earth sign. I am so comfortable with things I’m familiar with I have to consciously seek out the discomfort of change. I try to push myself once a month to go to an event that’s out of my scene, I encourage myself to do new stuff. The weird panic I feel even for something as small as taking an unfamiliar subway stop is actually great practice for the big changes I have no control over. The tiny panics are prep. And once I’ve done it once it expands my worldview just a little bit more.

I also like to instigate change just to shake up my energy. Moving things around in my room, doing a purge of a drawer, slightly changing my hair, getting a piercing or a tattoo, going on a trip, these all help me feel change energy in order to shift my perspective on my life.

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Macy interacting with some chickens.

4. Remember all the times I weathered change.

When I started getting that panic about, “OMG the summer is ending and all of my besties are in relationships and I am going to spend all of my Saturday nights alooooooone,” it was helpful to stop and remind myself I’ve been through this before. Some friends just bail when they start dating something. That’s not about me at all. (You know, when they become the “I have to check ‘our schedule’ friends.” And the friends I have now slipped in there for the friends who slipped away. It’s the ebb and flow of life. My closest friends, our relationships have weathered a ton of changes. Including long stretches of not talking or moving long distances. But those are the kinds of friendships where you can pick up the phone and it’s as though no time has passed at all.

I’ve realized I never know what a friendship is going to look like when it starts and it is only time that tells me whether it will endure the shifts in our lives.

Just like friendships, I’ve gone through a ton of other changes that, at first, felt like a huge crisis but eventually became great opportunities. The whole memoir I’m writing is basically about how I weathered some tremendous changes in my life. (My wedding was called off six months out, I lost my job of five years and six months later was forced out of my apartment.) The good thing about those changes was (spoiler alert) I learned how resilient I am.

When I got laid off again by a small business I worked at for a three years, I learned it definitely gets easier the second time around. Applying this even to unfamiliar change is really helpful to shift my perspective from fear to curiosity. I don’t know what life is bringing me with each new change, but I know I have a choice about how I look at it.

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We were in Louisiana long enough to stop for gas and this photo at a rest stop. Definitely need to get back there and do NOLA!

5. Use your shitty feelings to teach you about yourself.

As someone who likes to learn and grow, I’ve found that often my shitty feelings are trying to teach me something about myself. Like how my panic around my bestie getting booed up taught me about my fear of abandonment, often there’s a lesson in my resistance to change.

Leaning into the shitty feelings is something I learned from my life coach when I was being life coached by Lynnee Breedlove. He told me once that if you imagine shitty feelings like an ocean wave that going through them is the best way to get to the other side. (Rather than fight them or just get out of the ocean altogether.) He said he likes to send up a prayer of “Thanks” whenever he’s facing a yucky change, reminding him to stay in gratitude.

I’ve got a couple of book recommendations. One is by SARK, a thought leader I enjoy who writes playful and deep books. Glad No Matter What: Transforming Loss and Change into Gift and Opportunity is an amazing book! SARK details a year where she lost a partnership, the death of her mother and her beloved cat companion. She walks through the process of turning these losses into opportunities to grow. It’s playful and deep and taught me a lot about learning how to embrace changes as they come. There are a ton of questions to ask yourself, workbook style. But even the narrative alone, if you’re not ready for the work, is worth the read.

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At Sister Louisa’s Church of the Living Room and Ping Pong Emporium in Atlanta.

For the spiritually inclined, I also really enjoy Transitions by Julia Cameron. She wrote the Artist’s Way, so when I saw this in a tiny twelve step bookstore I visited when I was traveling cross country I snatched it up. Lately I’ve been reading the bite size reflections on change before I go to bed. It’s really amazing perspective on the good elements of change that we often can’t see through our pain. I like it a lot. It’s non-denominational and talks about God in the Spirit/higher power sense.

The result of my friend getting booed up years ago? We drifted apart. But it wasn’t nearly as hurtful or catastrophic as my panic at the time acted like it would be. I weathered the changes in our friendship and I’m confident I’ll keep weathering all the new changes my friendships have to offer.

*I am borrowing this term from an affirmation in Badass Resilience: Black and Brown Femme Survivor Love and Desire Affirmations by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha and Keisha Williams.

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